Another call to reformation for the Christian musician:

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Christian Living, Music & Videos
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This is not meant to condemn or judge any type of music, but to get to the heart of Christian music and its purpose.

I believe that God anoints who He wills regardless of their spiritual walk. Before King David was anointed king of Israel God instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul as king. (1Sam. 10:1) Saul was an unspiritual man who became very spiritual only when the Spirit of the LORD came upon him. Saul prophesied without ever really being called as a prophet. This shows us that someone can receive a gift from the Holy Spirit without really being spiritual. (1 Sam 10: 6-12)

Years ago four young men from Liverpool, England were anointed to play music and write songs that forever changed popular music. I believe that God anointed them, but left it up to them how they would use that anointing. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Beatles used their anointing to glorify God instead of themselves? We would probably be singing very different songs in churches today.

Steve Camp, writing in his “107 Theses, A Call For Reformation In The Contemporary Christian Music Industry:” said,  “Those of us who are privileged to represent our Lord Jesus in the arts should be galvanized by mission, not by ambition; by mandate, not by accolades; by love for the Master, not by the allurements of this world.”

I too, have been saved from the depravity of my heart, and without the grace of God through His son, the Lord Jesus, I was desperately wicked and eternally condemned. Early in my own musical journey I used to write songs that represented only the wickedness in me and the world. My motives were corrupt and my actions were far from being godly. My thirst for popularity made my heart prideful, judgmental and callused. But the Lord, out of His infinite grace and love, broke me down by His Spirit to bring true repentance in my own life. And it’s that life of repentance, which drives me to speak with conviction on this issue.

I believe that music is a powerful tool from the God that He intended to be used for worship, praise, encouragement, edification, admonishing, and exhorting God’s people to holiness. But I fear that compromise has invaded Christian music through years of skewed doctrine and secular living.

I recognize that there are many godly men and women who love the Lord that work to glorify God with their talent. But the crux of the matter is that the overall nature of “Christian Music” has dramatically shifted. The Apostle Paul warns… “It takes only a little leaven to leaven the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6) When sin is tolerated it ultimately permeates and corrupts the entire Church like a cancer. What is pure today will inevitably be polluted tomorrow if we do not “purge out the old leaven…” (v.7)

In the past several years there has been a subtle (and not so subtle) drifting away from Christ-centered music to “Christian-crossover” music. Sadly this has resulted in various visible manifestations of spiritual problems where many may unknowingly find themselves on a slippery slope sliding away from the Church, the Scriptures, and ultimately, the Savior.

During the “Jesus Movement” in the 1970’s Christian music unashamedly declared Jesus Christ as Lord. But as Christian Music grew in popularity, several generic titles began filtering out the name of God in songs to the point that it’s now hard to distinguish between Christian and secular songs.

This Biblical illiteracy has diminished the Christian culture into unintelligible chatter that is accepted as spiritual truth. We have gone from ‘dying to self’, to ‘serving self’. The object of Christian music is no longer Christ, but our self-esteem; the goal is no longer holiness, but our happiness; and the source of our faith is no longer the Scriptures, but our experience. I believe modern Christian music played a large part in producing a generation of people that “feel” their God, but do not “know” their God.

When Martin Luther stood at Wittenberg’s Door in the year 1517, he called for reformation of the Roman Church. Now, almost five centuries later, it is time to sound the alarm in our generation-this time, to call the Christian Musician back to the supremacy, sufficiency and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

A genuine revival is surely needed today, but that would be almost impossible given the current environment of the Church. Why? Because true revival is marked by repentance; and true repentance demands that Christian lives’ be consistent with Biblical truth that brings glory to God. These are serious times brothers and sisters, and it calls for real answers. This is not a time for proclaiming a diluted message to a dying world. It is a time to be girded with the belt of truth, standing firm in the gospel of peace, raising high our shield of faith, guarded with the helmet of salvation, to wield the sword of the Spirit with a surgeon’s precision, and praying always with all perseverance for all the saints in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

There is no greater song to proclaim  to a sin sick world than the saving grace of Jesus Christ, yet many Christian musicians feel content to sing about the chaff of this world. Many Christian musicians have been lead to believe that they should not use their talents to proclaim the gospel in secular venues because this would only offend some of their audience. Even though the purpose of Christian music was never meant to evangelize the lost; what an opportunity we have to share our faith with those who may never step inside of a church building! We shouldn’t negotiate the time and place to share the gospel (2 Tim 4:1-2) no matter what kind of capital is at stake–and that really is the issue here. We are to be in the world but not of it. And this is our greatest challenge. We are called to be salt and light in the world and be faithful witnesses of God’s mercy, love, and grace to the lost and dying. (Matthew 5:13-16) Yes, we should cultivate personal relationships with unbelievers, love our neighbor and our enemy; but let’s be careful not to be a friend of the world and thus make ourselves an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

I believe it is time for us fall on our faces before our Holy God, repent of our sin and return to our First Love! With lives enveloped in His grace, let us provoke one another to love and good works. With undivided hearts may we leave the ‘prodigal pigpen’ of the world and return to the safety of the Father’s love. Let us commit to prayer and fasting, seeking the Lord’s will with a broken, contrite and obedient heart. Let us be students of His Word being filled daily with His Spirit. Let us come away from an industry that has all but abandoned Christ; and by God’s grace, show the world (and the Church) what it really means to be… a ministry. Doing His work; His way; according to His Word; by His Holy Spirit.

It is time to be pounding on Wittenberg’s Door again! I pray that we come together to make history- to make Christian Music…truly Christian again.

What Scripture says:

  • We must purpose to keep personal relationships more important than business deals; family more valuable than ministry; and faith more precious than money. The struggle is maintaining an eternal perspective in these situations. (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:1-5; 1 Peter 3:7-11; Romans 12:1-2)
  • All our works, both musical and written, must produce a high view of God with our chief aim being to glorify God. (Psalm 29:1-2; Jeremiah 9:23-24)
  • We must refuse to make money a prerequisite for ministry. (Matthew 10:8; 1 Timothy 6:5)
  • We must not fail to glorify God publicly. And not just with our lips, but also in our private lives. (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7-9)
  • God cannot be glorified where sin openly entertained. (Psalm 5:4)
  • We fail to glorify God when we strut our accomplishments on a stage thinking our own hand has provided for us and our own hand has promoted us. (Job 41:34; Daniel 4:28-37; James 4:6)
  • We must glorify God rather than praise the messenger through awards and accolades.  (Isaiah 42:8; Psalm 115:1)
  • We must strive to please God rather than to please men. (Galatians 10: 1-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4)
  • We fail to glorify God when we speak and sing of the things of the world, but fail to proclaim the Gospel. (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8;)
  • Take a step of faith. Come away from the current music industry model and begin to build an authentic Christian Music Ministry again. (Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38)

An important message in closing

One of my blog followers reminded me the other day that my worth does not reside in my relationship status or how many twitter followers I may or may not have. No amount of friends or fans or how many books I may or may not sell will be factored into my worth. My worth has been sealed, secured and already delivered.

The fact is that without Christ I have no future. Whatever satisfaction may be found in gloating and arrogant pride ceases to serve a purpose when I leave this life. What have I left behind? What is my worth now? Gratefully, since my worth has been securely fastened in the arms of Christ, my relationship with him, at my death, only grows stronger.

If you know the Lord, then stop valuing yourself with outward things and understand that no matter what happens in the end, if the creator of heaven and earth has valued you. Well, that speaks for itself.

Keith Green was a man known for his uncompromising Christian stance. He gave his life to Jesus in 1975 and was “sold out” for the Lord right from the very start. Keith’s energy and passion for reaching people through music and ministry was unprecedented, and lives around the world are still being changed through his ministry. On July 28, 1982, at the age of 28, Keith and two of his young children were killed in a small plane crash. Although Keith had a very well-known ministry he considered himself first and foremost a servant of Jesus. He often said that when he died, he only wanted to be remembered as having been worthy to bear the name “Christian”.

Run to the Battle by Steve Camp

True Believers byPhil Keaggy

 

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Comments
  1. I was watching a documentary about Third Day and how at some point they agreed that they needed to take time out to focus on their individual walks with the Lord and their families. They spent a weekend together, not as musicians but as men of God. One band member commented that they had started getting caught up in all the excitement of performing and seeing their “fans.” One woman stated that she noticed a significant change in the style of their music after they had taken time out to “re-group” so to speak. Fans can make it very challenging for Christian artists to maintain the proper focus. “I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I made it, ’cause it’s all about You, Lord Jesus. It’s all about You.”

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